Uninsured drivers are a problem in every state in the US. According to estimates, around 12% of the drivers on the roads today do not have liability insurance coverage. This means that, in the event of a car accident, there is a chance that some drivers will not be able to pay damages or medical costs associated with the incident. In such cases, the question of legal accountability comes up. Can you still seek compensation if the other driver is uninsured?
The short answer is yes – you can definitely seek compensation if the other driver is uninsured. However, the process can be complex and challenging, and you may need qualified legal counsel to help you navigate it.
To understand what options you have, it’s essential first to consider your insurance coverage. Most states require that drivers carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to legally operate a vehicle. The coverage typically includes bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. These coverages protect you in the event that you are responsible for an accident, and they help pay the medical and repair costs of the other drivers involved.
If, however, you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may still be able to seek compensation through your own insurance coverage. In this scenario, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company and invoke your uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).
UM and UIM coverage are types of insurance that protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage. UM coverage is mandatory in some states, while UIM coverage is optional. These coverages will help pay for the damages or medical bills if the other driver is uninsured or inadequately insured.
If you have UM or UIM coverage, and the other driver is uninsured, your insurance company may make a settlement offer to you. Generally, this will cover the costs of the damages or medical bills you incurred. However, it’s vital to remember that insurance companies are for-profit businesses and will want to pay the minimum possible amount. Here, a qualified legal professional can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
If you don’t have UM or UIM coverage, or if the other driver was underinsured, you may still have other options. For instance, you could file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver and attempt to recover damages through the courts. However, it’s crucial to remember that, in many cases, people who don’t have insurance also don’t have significant assets that you could win in a lawsuit.
In conclusion, if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can still seek compensation. You’ll need to rely on your insurance coverage or file a lawsuit to attempt to recover damages. At the same time, it’s important to recognize the legal complexities of the situation and work with a qualified legal professional to ensure that you’re getting the compensation you’re legally entitled to receive.